Previous page Next page

Dynamic range expansion

Like previous Canon DSLRs the Canon EOS 5D Mark III comes with the dynamic range enhancement modes Highlight Tone Priority (HTP) and ALO (Auto Lighting Optimizer). The former improves a scene's highlight detail, while the latter increases shadow detail in high-contrast scenes. The High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode is a new feature on the 5D Mark III and increases a scene's dynamic range by combining several exposures into one.

Auto Lighting Optimizer

The 5D Mark III comes with the same Auto Lighting Optimizer feature that has been included in a few generations of Canon DSLRs now. The function lifts shadow detail in high-contrast scenes but in less contrasty conditions, the feature is not doing anything worth commenting on. Here is an example of a high dynamic range situation, and the effect of having ALO off and switched on to its various settings. Looking at the detail of the boat's hull there is difference in the shadow area, but it is subtle, even at the 'Strong' setting.



ALO Standard

ALO Strong

Highlight Tone Priority

The EOS 5D Mark III features the same 'Highlight tone priority' option that's found all current generation EOS cameras. It is activated on the third page of the shooting menu, and improves a scene's highlight detail. In our studio tests, it adds an additional stop of dynamic range in the highlights. In the real world it produced a clear, if subtle improvement, allowing the user to retain some detail in highlight areas where they would otherwise have been lost. This can be seen in the texture of the white tarpaulin on the boat on the left.



Because of the way Highlight Tone Priority works, it limits the minimum available sensitivity setting to ISO 200; it's also unavailable with the extended (H) settings. One point worth noting is that the extra highlight range is retained in your Raw files too, making HTP a very useful option to give you a 'buffer' in contrasty conditions (we often leave it on by default).

HDR mode

The EOS 5D Mark III is the first Canon DSLR to offer a built-in HDR mode. When pressing the shutter button in this mode the camera takes three shots - one correctly exposed, one over- and one under-exposed. The three shots are then combined to an HDR image. Moving subjects in your scene will result in 'ghosting' effects and Canon recommends the use of a tripod or fast shutter speeds when shooting in HDR mode. That said, on the 5D Mark III the mode can auto-align images (which it can't on Canon' compact cameras), and unlike almost any other camera, it lets you save RAW files for later processing.

The 5D Mark III's HDR mode lets you fine-tune your HDR shooting experience through a range of parameters in the shooting menu.

The mode is accessed via the Shooting Effects button on the camera's left shoulder, and offers a range of parameters to play with. You can select the bracketing range (1 to 3EV or 'Auto'), the HDR effect (Natural, Art standard, Art vivid, Art bold or Art embossed) and you can specify if only the HDR image should be saved to the memory card, or all three captured shots plus the end result.

The effects on offer range from fairly natural to pretty surreal. Which ones you like most will depend on your personal preferences. While the effects differ quite substantially from each other the impact of the selected EV range is much more subtle. Below you can see an overview of all possible effects/EV range combinations.

Standard 1
Standard 2
Standard 3
Vivid 1
Vivid 2
Vivid 3
Natural 1
Natural 2
Natural 3
Bold 1
Bold 2
Bold 3
Embossed 1
Embossed 2
Embossed 3
Previous page Next page
I own it
I want it
I had it
Discuss in the forums


Total comments: 20


I am new to the Canon brand and was considering a 5D3 or a 7D2. I need a camera that captures images and short video clips of very fast sports at close and far ranges. So for me, speed, image quality, and movie quality are the most important.

Edit: I should add that the sports are indoor but very fast, and I usually cannot use flash, so I have to work with what's available.

If there is another camera that you recommend beyond these two, please let me know. I have only used a Nikon D4S in the past which did well but I can no longer use that. Thanks in advance and sorry if this is a low-level question.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting

First test ever here the 5d mark iii filming in 4k Magic lantern also unlock Raw

Pascal Parvex

It is not filming in 4K, it is still 1080p. It was just uprezzed (DNG files).


your right


I am owner of 5d mark III.
I ll totally disagre about noise free image of mark III.
Camera make iso free, but with jpg image, where is use in camera noise filter.
I can do it in photoshop with any camera.
More important, and no one talk about that, raw image on 1600!! iso have noise, 3200 and more, have lot of noise.
And second thing, image on higher noise are not sharp!


Which lenses you use?

1 upvote
Abel Sy

Hello, I've just bought a 5D3 W/ 24 - 105MM lens, upon playing w/ it, looking for the command for multiple shots, the auto focus was affected and not wokring anymore. I don't know and can not make it back to original setting. Is somebody there know and tell me what to do? please help.
P.S. I tried the lens to put in another camera and it works, and attached another lens to 5d3, but didn't work as well. so I confirmed that the problem is the setting w/in the body.


A minor nitpick: Canon's first 35mm autofocus SLR was not the EOS 650 but the T80.


Hello i just need a professional the Canon 5D Mark III suitable for broadcast?

1 upvote
Pascal Parvex

No one has answered, so here is an non-professional opinion: Should be. Since the Mark II, the 5D series has gotten some heavy use in broadcasting.


I have used the 5D Mark III for over a year and have just finished selling my Nikon gear (sad day after being a Nikon enthusiast for 30 plus years). From auto-focus to camera build to overall quality, this camera can do it all! Even with the slow burst rate, it works well for sports and nature shooting! I can't recommend this camera enough. I have found the auto-focus system to be quick enough for Equestrian events with long lenses, such as Canons 400mm f2.8 or new 200-560mm.


I have just bought a 5d mkii, and when doing a comparison test (nothing scientific) against my 50d I find that the 5d3 seems to under expose by upto 1stop, is this normal?


I work in Nyc as a fashion photographer and I have to say the the 5d series are the most used cameras out side of medium format cameras .Ive been shooting with the mark 3 for over a year after shooting with the mark 2 for 2 years great both great cameras. You can see the shots I've taken with it on my website hope it helps!!

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting

Nice shots,...I've always dreamed to be a fashion photographer.

Cyrus the Great

Nikon D800 is clear winer over 5D iii in every things. Nikon has much sharper lens.
don't know why some people buy Canon???!!!!!

1 upvote
R D Carver

'Some people' buy Canon because they earn their living using a camera. Oh man, you should see those forests of white and red-ringed lenses in the pro pit at every major sporting, media and news event! 'Some people' are winning the major competitions, filling the fashion and nature magazines and filming box office busting movies with Canon. "Nikon has much sharper lens" Which lens exactly? Give a photographer a Canon 5D MKIII and an EF 70-200mm F/2.8 L IS II USM Lens and he can take on the world. Nikon is good, Canon is good why get tribal? it is so petty and amateur. At work I can pick up a Nikon/Sony D800 body or a Cannon 5D MKIII. I prefer the Cannon because I don't like the white balance on the Nikon. Others are happy to use the Nikon, but the die hard Nikon enthusiasts are disappointed that Sony make the sensors for Nikon. In comes Sony in comes the green tinged white balance.


No cameras white balance is perfectly neutral. That's why we have the ability to manually change it on the camera and even fine tune on some of the higher end models. Nikon cameras do run slightly toward the cool side, but they can always be fine-tuned to be neutral in-camera. Canon cameras have always leaned towards the orange color tint. Luckily for Canon the end result is a slightly warmer image that many photographers like the looks of. Few pros would buy a camera that couldn't be made to produce true colors. And that forest of white lenses has been thinning out quite a bit since the advent of the Nikon D3. I'm one die-hard Nikon enthusiast who's ecstatic with Sony sensors. No other brand can even match their dynamic range.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote

why is the D800 is the clear winner? because of a few test charts? which camera do you own? the 5DM3 or the D800? i switched from nikon to canon because i liked canon's lenses better.

ever been to a major sporting event or a press conference? if you did you'd notice an abundance of off-white telephoto lenses with red rings on them. saying that "some people buy Canon" is misleading because pretty much everyone who makes a living off their camera gear uses Canon. and believe me, there are very good reasons for that. if you don't know what they are then it will be a waste of time trying to explain them to you. you still wont get it because you are too busy looking at test charts.


The Nikon 85 1.2 and 200 1.8 is better than the Canon ones... oh wait, no, it was the 8-15 f4. ;)


thx for putting the Shadow noise test in your review. it was time to show that quite big difference.

Total comments: 20